Real Estate Headlines 05.07.2013

Low appraisals are making it tougher for some pending sales to close, causing many buyers to include a contingency in their offers: If a house for sale for $500,000 appraises for, say, $475,000, more buyers are willing to pay the $25,000 shortfall out of their pocket to close the deal Chaffee said.

While some brokers view low appraisals as holding back home sales, appraisers blame the record-low inventory of homes for sale. They have trouble finding true comparables.

Richard Hagar, president of American Home Appraisals on Mercer Island, said his firm recently was asked to value a home in King County and couldn’t find a comparable within 10 miles of it.

“It’s probably the most difficult time to appraise in my entire appraisal career,” he said.

County home price back to $400,000 ~ Seattle Times

The Seattle area is one of the top markets in the nation, with strong job growth. Scott points to a shortage of housing inventory on both the West and East coasts. “And in our area there’s a one- to two-month supply of homes available. A healthy market is 5-6 months of inventory.”

Driving that spiking recovery is the confidence of local home buyers who are flooding into the market, on top of the residential investors who started buying heavily in 2011 and still are.

Hottest areas? “Everywhere is selling well, but the epicenter of Seattle sales activity is Green Lake and Ballard,”

Hot Seattle residential real estate called ‘surge market’ ~ PSBJ

As the market continues to march towards a recovery, the rate of loans that were at least 60 days late but current six months ago fell in March to its lowest level in six years, according to a report released by Lender Processing Services (LPS).

The report also found that the number of homeowners who are underwater has dropped dramatically since the depths of the housing crisis. In January of this year, 9 million people had negative equity in their homes, down from a peak of 17 million in January of 2011.

On an annual basis, the number of loans with negative equity had plummeted by 41 percent as of January.

‘New problem loans’ drop to lowest level in 6 years ~ Inman

Millennials rightly positioned to boost economy ~ Housing Wire

Secret ‘pocket listings’ return in hot housing markets ~ CNN Money

Down Payment Rules Are at Heart of Mortgage Debate ~ NY Times

Sophisticated Zillow scam puts NAR and MLS on alert ~ Inman

How to Win a Bidding War on the Home You Really Want ~ WSJ

Redfin Takes On Zillow’s Zestimates With New And Improved Home Value Tool ~ Tech Crunch

Realty Company Offering Small Raise To Workers Who Undergo Gang Initiation Ritual ~ The Gist

How to Spot a Home-Contractor Scam ~ US News

10 Seattle Neighborhoods Annotated ~ Seattle Met